Everything you need to bento like a pro! We’ve even included four bonus recipes for perfect bento box lunches all week; sweet potato and beetroot crisps, nut free apple pie bliss bites, healthy oatmeal cookies, and tuna and bean salad.
Why are bento box lunches great for kids?
Bento box lunches are a great way of encouraging kids to eat more balanced meals. With multiple compartments to keep food fresh, they provide plenty of variety for children who struggle to stay engaged throughout mealtimes or who have more important things to do than sit still!
What are the benefits of a stainless steel lunch box?
Stainless steel lunch boxes, like this Kitchen Pro range (pictured above), are antibacterial and tend to be the safer and sturdier option. They’re also easy to keep clean, eco-friendly and made to last.
Bento box #1: For healthy appetites
- Pie Maker Zucchini Muffins
- Air Fryer Sweet Potato & Beetroot Crisps
- Spiralised Apple & Berries
Sweet Potato & Beetroot Crisps
- 1 medium sweet potato, unpeeled, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
- 1 tbs canola oil
- 1⁄4 tsp sea salt
- 1⁄4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary (optional)
- Cooking spray
- In a large bowl of cold water, soak sweet potato slices for 20 minutes. Drain sweet potatoes and pat dry with paper towels.
- Wipe the bowl dry then add oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Add the sweet potatoes then toss gently to coat.
- Lightly coat air fryer basket with cooking spray. Place half of the sweet potatoes in the basket, and cook in two batches at 180°C until cooked through and crispy, about 15 minutes.
- Using a pair of tongs, carefully remove sweet potatoes from air fryer to a plate. Let them cool to serve immediately or store them in an airtight container.
Recipe by Elizabeth Laseter from CookingLight.
Bento box #2: For light grazers
- Mac & Cheese Bites
- Bliss Balls
- Fruit Shapes
Nut Free Apple Pie Bliss Bites
- 1 large diced apple
- 1 1⁄2 cups rolled oats
- 1⁄3 cup desiccated coconut (plus extra for rolling)
- 6 medjool dates
- 50g dried apple
- 25g sultanas
- 1 1⁄2 tsp cinnamon
- Add all the ingredients into a food processor with the s-blade attachment.
- Process on high for around three minutes or until well combined and the ingredients are chopped finely.
- Scoop one tablespoon of the mixture and roll to make a ball in between your hands.
- Roll the ball lightly in the coconut to coat then roll again in your hands so that the coconut sticks to the ball. Repeat until all the mixture is used.
- Store the bliss balls in the fridge in an airtight container.
Bento box #3: For fussy eaters
- Sandwich Shapes
- Carrot & Cucumber Sticks
- Chocolate Chip Cookies (pictured) OR
- Healthy Oatmeal Cookies with Apples & Carrots
Oatmeal Cookies with Apples & Carrots
- 1 cup quick oats or rolled oats, ground finely
- 1 cup whole wheat or gluten-free flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup grated carrot (approx 1 large)
- 1⁄2 cup grated apple (approx 1 medium)
- 1 cup raisins
- 1⁄2 cup sunflower seeds, chopped walnuts, or chopped pecans
- 1⁄2 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1⁄3 cup honey or maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 190°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl, then use (clean) hands to bring the batter completely together if needed.
- Portion out two tablespoon-sized balls of dough, place onto the prepared baking sheet, and press down until 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Space them about an inch apart—they won’t spread, so close is okay.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges. Let cool on the baking sheet and serve.
- These are best eaten on the day they are made, but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge for 3-5 days.
Recipe by Amy Palanjian from Yummy Toddler Food.
Bento box #4: For busy adventurers
- Tuna & Bean Salad
- Easy Banana Loaf
- Dehydrated Fruit & Fruit Leather
Tuna & Bean Salad
- 2 cans of Cannellini Beans
- 1 large tin of tuna (preferably sustainably line-caught in olive oil)
- 1 punnet of cherry tomatoes
- 2 small spring onions
- 1 small bunch of flat-leaf parsley
- olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
- salt & pepper
- Drain the cans of beans and tuna and empty into a bowl.
- Chop tomatoes and spring onions and add to the bean and tuna mix.
- Chop the flat-leaf parsley and sprinkle into the bowl.
- Drizzle with olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
Recipe by Babyccino.